The 2013 college football regular season is starting to heat up, especially with the first announcement of the BCS rankings on Sunday.
With every program in the nation fighting for the honor of playing for a BCS National Championship, where each team stands in the rankings this week and moving forward will be imperative to achieving that goal.
Next season will feature the first College Football Playoff, but until then fans of the sport are stuck with the standard BCS rankings once again. Try not to get too angry.
Here are the full rankings, as announced in an ESPN special presentation:
The cream of the crop this season has undoubtedly been the Alabama Crimson Tide.
After winning three of the last four national titles and returning a strong class, Alabama has proven that it is still one of the most dangerous squads both defensively and offensively. Key wins over Texas A&M and Ole Miss will help put the Crimson Tide in the title game once again if they keep their record unblemished. A Nov. 9 matchup with LSU highlights their remaining schedule.
There have been other seasons in which Alabama was far and away the best team in the nation, but multiple squads are in the title picture this year as Florida State has made a strong push following a monster win over Clemson. The impressive performance solidified the Seminoles' credentials and vaulted them into the second spot in the initial BCS release.
Not far behind the Seminoles are the Oregon Ducks at No. 3. With a perfect record, a top-10 defense and arguably the most explosive and consistent offensive unit in the nation, the Ducks would give the Crimson Tide all they could handle in a potential showdown. A huge win against Washington cemented Oregon’s spot as one of the top BCS contenders.
While Alabama and Florida State have the inside lane to the national title game, there are several top programs within striking distance. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten this season and can use their impressive resume to step up in the event of a shake-up at the top of the standings.
There are also several unbeaten programs that haven’t faced the same tests as the rest of the top teams in the nation. With Missouri, Baylor and Miami (Fla.) still playing well, these programs could sneak into the national championship conversation with a few marquee upsets.
College football fans look at the traditional powerhouses first, but there are several dark-horse squads that could add a wrinkle to the BCS bowl bids. Programs like No. 17 Fresno State, No. 18 Northern Illinois and No. 23 UCF have all earned notable wins this season and have a chance to continue building their resumes.
If one of these universities can stay hot, there could be an opportunity to play in a high-profile bowl game come this winter.
Add in a strong group of teams with a single blemish on their respective records looking to steal the show (including programs like No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Clemson and No. 11 Auburn), and the hunt for the BCS National Championship is officially underway.
It’s going to be a very interesting stretch of college football.